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Archive for October 2019

Iowa and Illinois

October 31st, 2019 — 12:28pm

I slept long and well last night as we traveled through the eastern half of Colorado and all of Nebraska. I woke up this morning in beautiful snowy Iowa! Sorry no pics here yet — I’ll sort that out when I get to Willow and have stable internet and not so much to look at out the windows. If you follow me on instagram you can see all the low-res instas I have grammed during my journey! I’m karashallenberg there.

I took a break from looking out my window in order to type this because my window is covered in gobs of snow and the air is white! It is already serious winter in the midwest and it’s only Halloween. Is that normal or did winter start early and fierce this year?

2 comments » | Blog

Utah and Colorado

October 30th, 2019 — 9:57am

After a good, though over-warm, night of sleep I woke up just outside of Helper, Utah, to such beauty scenery! Bits of snow on the ground and rocky slopes unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

Utah changed a lot as we traveled through, so every glance out the window showed me something new! I took a million pics and videos, none of which do justice to reality. I hope to add them to this post when I have real internet…

Now we’ve just crossed into Colorado and things changed again! We’ve been following a river through a beautifully striated canyon. I saw some snowy peaks in the distance — the Rockies, maybe? Now, as we approach Grand Junction, there are farms and ranches, with rolling hills and black buttes beyond them.

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Amtrak trip to New York!

October 29th, 2019 — 2:33pm

I’m typing this on my phone from my roomette on board the California Zephyr! We started at Emeryville CA this morning (Tuesday) (we left two hours late, but I had my knitting so it was cool).

We’ve gone through Sacramento and are now climbing climbing climbing up into the mountains! I’ll fill in this post with some pics and vids when I get a chance to upload them — no wifi and cell service is spotty to nonexistent.

I’ll be on this train for two nights, and will arrive in Chicago on Thursday afternoon, then I’ll catch the Lakeshore Limited and arrive on Friday in NEW YORK to visit Susan and Jack for a few days! Rumor has it that a few other very dear family members might join us there, too :)

I am having a splendid time!

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Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown

October 27th, 2019 — 7:27pm

Finished! You can download all chapters from the Maud Hart Lovelace page:

or you might want to subscribe to these books as podcasts with the following RSS links: (typo in podcast feed is fixed so Chapter 2 should appear if you re-subscribe)

That’s my preferred method of audiobook-listening because a) it’s so easy and b) most podcast apps will automatically set a bookmark when you stop listening so you’ll never lose your place. Most podcast apps will also allow you to skip forward and backward by reasonable amounts (unlike music players) and set a sleep timer.

I prefer Bookmobile by Freshmowed. It’s extraordinarily full-featured and therefore has a steep learning curve, but once you figure it out, WOW, it’ll do everything but braid your hair.

Overcast is another good option. You can even use Apple’s built-in “Podcasts” app in a pinch. (Android users — what’s your favorite podcast app that works well for audiobooks?)

Whichever app you use, you’ll copy the url that ends with .xml for the book you want. Then find the place in your podcast app where you can “subscribe with url” or “subscribe with RSS” and paste that link in. Tell your app to download all chapters and *never delete them* (if you’re using Apple’s “Podcasts” app there’s a setting for this in the “settings” app on your phone). Make sure they’ll play in the right order. If they’re mixed up, you may be able to order them manually or make a playlist, depending on your app — but they’ll probably be fine if you tick either “oldest to newest” or “newest to oldest” (again, this depends on your app).

Let me know if you need screenshots of this process in one of the three apps I mentioned.

Happy listening! :) Shall I continue on with Betsy and Tacy? In the next book, Heaven to Betsy, the girls are 14 and about to enter highschool!

8 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

A fun new side effect!

October 27th, 2019 — 10:37am

“Rash” is one of the side effects of Remodulin that I hadn’t experienced until recently. Over the last couple months, since I increased my Remodulin dose, the skin on my face has been reacting more and more. It started with just a little red rash near my mouth, then spread further and further. I was able to control it for a while with my powerful steroid ointment (that I’m not supposed to use on my face) but that stopped working and now my face is blotchy and red and covered with zitty little bumps. UGH. :(

This is really bumming me out. My skin has always been one of my best features — that and my wonderful thick wavy red-gold hair — and my skin was clear even when I was a teenager.

At least the Remodulin isn’t ruining my hair. I’m 50 now and there’s only a tiny bit of gray at the front so it should stay pretty for a good long time, with luck! :)

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Betsy-Tacy update!

October 25th, 2019 — 5:38pm

I get a lot of lovely messages from listeners who gently encourage me to continue with Betsy-Tacy — so guess what! I have jumped back in to Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown. I’d forgotten how much I already had completed — seven chapters — and I’ve just recorded another two. Only five more to go! I’m going to try to get it all finished before my next big train trip (I’m going all the way to New York next week), but in case I don’t quite get to it you can listen to what’s already finished by visiting

Enjoy! And check back soon for the final five chapters :)

1 comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

Helen Cresswell

October 23rd, 2019 — 7:40pm

All five of my Bagthorpe novels by Helen Cresswell have podcast feeds now!

Copy and paste these RSS links into your podcast app:

Ordinary Jack 

Absolute Zero (the funniest one! omg! )

Bagthorpes Unlimited

Bagthorpes Vs. the World

Bagthorpes Abroad

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Miss Sturkopf und das Einhorn

October 22nd, 2019 — 1:55pm

Miss Stubborn and the Unicorn

Miss Stubborn, who is the stubbornest creature in the world, doubts her friends when they tell her they’ve seen a unicorn. She doesn’t believe in unicorns! There’s no such thing as unicorns! And when she meets the unicorn herself? She still doesn’t believe in unicorns! Stubborn till her last breath :)

Quick vocabulary list for ya:

stur – stubborn
Wetterbericht – weather forecast
goss es – it poured
schüttete es – it showered
Regenschirm – umbrella
Quasselstrippe – chatterbox
Du errätst niemals – you’ll never guess
ungewöhnliches – unusual
irre – crazy
Einhorn – unicorn
Unsinn – nonsense
Aua – owie, boo-boo
ganz aus dem Haüschen sein – to be all excited
verkünden – to declare
stolz – proud
glauben – to believe
Sonnenschein – sunshine
Widerrede – back chat
kitzeln – to tickle
Vielfraß – glutton
Wirrkopf – scatterbrain
Einrad – unicycle
unübersehbar – conspicuous, unmissable
Pracht – glory, splendour
Pferd – horse
Überraschung – surprise
Atemzug – breath of air

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Susan Cooper

October 22nd, 2019 — 9:37am

All three of my Susan Cooper novels have their own podcast feeds now:

Copy and paste those links into the podcast app of your choice and enjoy these beautiful books!

I’m working down the list on Kayray Reads to You, so Helen Cresswell is next :)

1 comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

a new book for you!

October 21st, 2019 — 6:58pm

Click the Kayray Reads to You link at the top of this page, then scroll down to P.L. Travers :)

Or if you’re in a hurry and want it RIGHT NOW, copy and paste this RSS link into your favorite podcast app:


3 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog


October 19th, 2019 — 6:38pm

I’ve finally finished reorganizing Kayray Reads to You!

Everything is ordered alphabetically by author, with picture books having their own page.

Next step: every book gets its own podcast feed for easy downloading. Maybe I should have one podcast feed just for the picture books?

Also, I MUST finish recording “Betsy and Tacy go Downtown” and a few books about a certain British nanny which I’ve started reading to Em…

Kick my butt if I don’t get those finished and posted soon. No matter how rough I feel I should be able to knock out a chapter a day of those dear wonderful books, especially since I don’t edit my recordings… it’s getting started that takes the effort.

1 comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

new podcast feeds

October 17th, 2019 — 7:14pm

OMG two posts in one day

I realized that Time has Marched On — and that it’s easier now for most people to subscribe to a podcast than to download files and sync them to phones or whatever, so I am embarking on the large project of making podcast feeds for all of my “Kayray Reads to You” books.

(all librivox books already have podcast feeds — click the green RSS button on the catalog page, copy, and paste into your podcast app)

Tolkien was first, of course. You can find the feeds by clicking “Kayray Reads To You” (above) and then the link to the page of Tolkien books. I’ll put ’em here, too:

Normal-clicking these links will probably not do anything useful: you need to right click (or control-click, or press-and-hold), copy, and then paste into your podcast app. Most podcast apps have a place for you to paste in an RSS link — that’s where to put these.

I don’t really feel like testing to make sure all of the files are properly named and will download correctly, so if you find an error please let me know :)

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Oct 17

October 17th, 2019 — 3:34pm

Remember when I used to write a few lines here every day? That was cool huh. Maybe I’ll try that again.

Still depressed, though one evening it lifted and stayed better till the next morning. I actually felt it lift, like the heavy thing just floated away for a while. The oddest feeling.

Knitting, eating chocolate, and binging Nurse Jackie

2 comments » | Blog

October 2019 update

October 15th, 2019 — 11:41am

Oops. Time passed.

Yeah I’m still alive! Sorry if you were worried.

Things have been basically ok. I’m in a bit of a depression right now but I know I’ll come out of it someday.

Um.. what’s been happening… I had another great Amtrak journey at the end of September to visit my dear cousin in San Diego, had a great time just chilling and knitting and watching Queer Eye with her and her husband and cats :)

Reading Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch which is SO GOOD and you should read it.

I finally got an IHSS worker! (In Home Support Services). Her name is Malynda and she’s great. She cleans my bathroom and changes my sheets and runs errands and does laundry etc. She even drove me to San Francisco for a doctor appointment! She does all the stuff that’s getting harder and harder for me to do on my own. She’s smart and reliable and she likes her job. It was a GIANT PAIN IN THE BUTT to wade through all the county bureaucracy and get approved but it was worth it in the end.

I’ve been playing a lot of Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch. Love it. I’m not paying much attention to the main quest line — mostly just exploring, looking for Shrines and Towers and Korok seeds. I like running around and riding my horses in the big open world! The Switch controllers have bad stick-drift so I just sent them in for repair. Hope they come back soon. Also played Untitled Goose Game which was everything I was hoping for. HONK!

My little friend Tobi (age 3.5) in Austria sent me this picture book for my birthday. Leo doesn’t want to eat his nice carrot soup and Mama starts to lose her patience, but Hops the Grasshopper tells Leo he should be glad that he has such a nice Mama to make him good food, and Leo learns an important lesson :) (Sorry for the few little mispronunciations)

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